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Killology review: Perverse and dark drama at its best

A horrific and personal exploration of violence in society

Despite having a three-man cast (Jack Firoozan, Barney Mercer and John Broadhead as Davey, Paul and Alan respectively) Killology exceeds our expectations of what a small cast can do, in an unsettling yet deeply moving fashion.

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Barney Mercer

Killology follows three characters living in a world overflowing with violence, tactless morals, and degenerate relationships. At the centre of the play is a video game that encourages its players to live out their darkest fantasies, rewarding them for creative kills.

As the title suggests, the crux of the play explores the effects of killing on the human psyche. Father-son relationships crumble, people on the fringes of society are reduced to vagabonds, human empathy becomes fickle. What was initially built as a platform for gamers to excite their depraved desires results in a distortion of normality.

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Jack Firoozan

The performances themselves were nothing short of brilliant. Tasked with long demanding monologues all three actors handled the emotions. Firoozan shone brilliantly as the troubled teenager Davey, working his way through a twisted society, exposing the grim reality of his youth.

Mercer had the tricky job of representing a sinister game developer whose questionable moral outlook derived from a patchy past and he did this with great effect, demanding our hatred of his character, yet at times, pity too.

Broadhead was equally on par with his two fellow actors as the individual who faces up to corporate greed and the damaging mental effects of the game.

Despite the great performances all round, the torture scene, that lies at the centre of the play, felt slightly artificial in relation to the rest of the piece. Perhaps the scene could have been better tweaked to complement the realistic atmosphere set up so astutely by the actors.

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John Broadhead

Killology is a must watch for all theatregoers in Durham. Director Elliot Ancona is correct in saying that the play leaves you with more questions than answers, and I for one am continuing to dissect complexities presented in it.